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Icosiel

Jetpack Disrupting Game Balance

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Per raw you cannot do an accelerate and a fly drive maneuver as a single maneuver.

 

Yes, but in vehicle combat, you usually need to fly/drive to change the range band; in this instance, the PC is already at close range. Given that the jetpack is disrupting play, and that it is a special case, I would say that moving within the close range band is a manoeuvre, too, but I can see the other point of view.

Edited by Franigo

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C) Rounds can be seconds or minutes long and one action doesn't mean there aren't more shots happening, just one that cinematically matters; ignore those who scream that all that can't happen in a single minute.

You don't have to roll every shot. That's not what I meant. But it helps to account for the volume of fire the sniper can pour at someone on approach and give him a couple of extra dice to simulate that. Personally I'd say "make that one shot a lot easier".

 

Really, though, players getting 'giddy' about exploits only lasts so long as they fail to realise that literally everything they do, NPCs can do, too. Making the game a contest is kind of dense in that light and eventually, they'll probably "grow out" of it. It's something you just have to sit out for a while until the shoe drops when, say, in this scenario, a lot of ex-mandalorians or dark troopers start showing up.

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I don't think you see Boba Fett having to fire-up his Jet Pack then take a few seconds to accelerate and then move to the other speeder where Luke his standing.

 

I really think you guys are thinking too much into it... I feel that allowing to move from long to short is pretty decent for a jet pack, no need to accelerate, start or any other things... don't boggle the system up. Anyway, how often is the Jet Pack really gonna be a problem ? You got screwed once because you haven't planned on that players tactic, now you know better. Fight usually take place at short/medium range with lots of cover, so Jet Pack could be useful to move to long range and get in cover to increase survivability. Most fights take place indoors, so Jet Pack is pretty useless there.

 

Remember that a Jet Pack can't be carried everywhere.... try going out an Imperial StarPort with a Jet Pack on your back and you'll get arrested. Every Imperial worlds and most civilized worlds wouldn't allow a Jet Pack to be carried in the open. Maybe on some hunting trip in specified areas, but not in the cities. Also, Jet Pack have high encombrance, so your player can't carry everything. Give your players a special Item that they need to carry that takes up encombrance where they have to choose carefully what they want to carry.

 

Just because ONE encounter got screwed doesn't mean you need to screw your players over too. Keep it simple, let them have fun and go along with it.

The only thing I might keep from all this is that moving from Short to Engaged is always a maneuver, regardless of a jet pack. So Jet Pack Melee fighters will always have to use 2 Maneuvers to engaged an opponent from long range.

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Also, make him use his Jet Pack to counter some evil plans, even having to spend System Strain and blow it up to achieve some greater purpose.... The Imperials have rigged some poor civilians with some Detonite and will blow up unless someone flies to them... at the same time, the Imperials are assembling a Heavy Repeater blaster behind full cover, it's gonna be hell when they do so the Jet Pack Guy must fly to stop them before its complete.... where will he go ? both ? can he pull it off ?

Unrelated to the topic, I really love this encounter you've laid out. Sounds like a great way to challenge a AOR group; especially if there is some sort of leader figure within the party. Will the PC be willing to sacrifice himself to save innocent lives? Will he sacrifice the other PCs if that's what it takes to complete their mission? Could be the epic showdown at the end of a campaign arc.

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I think most rolls to get around with a jet pack should require a piloting skill.  IIRC, the description of piloting skills in difficult terrain specifically states that a failed roll doesn't mean the vehicle doesn't move, but the vehicle doesn't end up where the character intended it.  So the pilot should have to make a piloting check to get within throwing range of detonator.

 

And its apparently this was on freaking MUSTAFAR.  It should be easy to upgrade the difficulty on those piloting rolls a few times (Air currents, flying ash, poor visibility, etc).

 

Kaosoe, Ghostofaman and furiousgreg all made valid points... great ones at that...

 

Don't forget that your players earned that Jet Pack and Thermal Detonator... you can't just sabotage what they earned so they feel it's useless.

Always setup your encounters to exploit your characters strength and weaknesses. But don't make it too easy for them.... some pointers...

 

Don't let your Uber Bad Guy be alone... give him a few Storm Commandos to cover him, in the Snipers platoon... using platoon rules, he can sacrifice a minion to soak all damage from an attack....

Players scores enough advantages to trigger Blast, too bad! Blast radius on a thermal detonator is Short, so he also gets hit....

If he argues that he flew away, tell him a Storm Commando threw the Thermal Detonator away while he was flying to cover.

 

Also, make him use his Jet Pack to counter some evil plans, even having to spend System Strain and blow it up to achieve some greater purpose.... The Imperials have rigged some poor civilians with some Detonite and will blow up unless someone flies to them... at the same time, the Imperials are assembling a Heavy Repeater blaster behind full cover, it's gonna be hell when they do so the Jet Pack Guy must fly to stop them before its complete.... where will he go ? both ? can he pull it off ?

 

Your player will feel cheated if you cockblock his shiny toy.... but he'll feel heroic if he blows it up himself, blowing a few Destiny Points, and saving the civilians and stopping the Imps from getting that Heavy Repeater on his friends. While he's doing all that, the other players are taking care of the sniper and his Storm Commandos.

 

 

Use your players toys to build a rewarding challenging encounter :)

The emphasis above is mine.  The problem described by the OP is the opposite of "building a challenging encounter", the character is subverting the encounter to make it anything but challenging.

 

I would add that the GM should be building the encounters to be rewarding, which the players use of the jet pack also screws up.

 

Simply, a single piece of gear should not necessitate a complete campaign redesign on the part of the GM as I saw suggested (Inside encounters, underwater sith temples).  That is a horrible solution to this kind of player behavior.  

 

I personally don't think you should feel bad about taking away a character's toy if the player's abusing it.  I really wouldn't care if the rules were inconsistent, your player's proven the rules aren't working and they need to be fixed directly as a result of his behavior.  Why should a GM feel bad about making judgement calls to keep his game on track due to a player's abuse the system?  Even if they are playing by RAW, which it sounds like the OP wasn't anyway.

Edited by LethalDose

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Hmm... been mulling this for a bit and something nags me about it.

And I figured out what it is.

Nobody walks around with their jetpack activated... he has to activate the jetpack, which is a maneuver.

So going from standing to moving all the way to the enemy must count as two maneuvers. One for activating the jetpack and another for moving to the enemy.

He can't move there and back in one turn unless the jetpack was already activated.

And if he spends one turn activating the jetpack before moving (to make a double move in one turn), then that'll catch his opponents eye for sure, and make him a target.

It is one to accelerate one to move to your target. 

 

 

Debatable, since accelerating from 0 to 1 also means he has already moved to his target (due to the very short ranges of personal vs vehicle).

 

 

Per raw you cannot do an accelerate and a fly drive maneuver as a single maneuver. 

 

Then, logically, you can never go from 0 to 1 without doing two maneuvers.

Because when you go from 0 (standing still) to 1 (accelerated from 0), you are actually travelling 1 distance.

I take the "accelerate" as a maneuver that means you're increasing in speed after you've already started moving.

 

EDIT: P232 of the CR cleraly states that fly/drive: "this maneuver reflects the simple act of moving the ship or vehicle closer or further away from something at its current speed."

It also states the Accelerate/Decelerate maneuver separately, which is "The pilot may increase or decrease the ship or vehicles current speed by one, to a minimum of zero or a maximum of the ship's maximum speed rating".

To me that means that the fly/drive maneuver is used when you're already moving and not accelerating. 

But to use a jetpack to accelerate to 1 takes just one maneuver.

Slowing down again at the target location, however, is another maneuver (namely, the decelerate maneuver).

Otherwise, you'll just keep flying past the location.

 

As a sidenote, this also means that if your players are travelling at speed 1, chasing someone, and they say "I accelerate to get closer", that means they don't do 1 accelerate move and 1 fly/drive maneuver.

It just means they use one accelerate maneuver.

However, if both them and the target are moving at the same speed, and your player states that he tries to get closer, that's when he does a fly/drive maneuver. He'll keep going at the same speed whilst still trying to get closer to the target.

Edited by OddballE8

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Hmm... been mulling this for a bit and something nags me about it.

And I figured out what it is.

Nobody walks around with their jetpack activated... he has to activate the jetpack, which is a maneuver.

So going from standing to moving all the way to the enemy must count as two maneuvers. One for activating the jetpack and another for moving to the enemy.

He can't move there and back in one turn unless the jetpack was already activated.

And if he spends one turn activating the jetpack before moving (to make a double move in one turn), then that'll catch his opponents eye for sure, and make him a target.

It is one to accelerate one to move to your target. 

 

 

Debatable, since accelerating from 0 to 1 also means he has already moved to his target (due to the very short ranges of personal vs vehicle).

 

 

Per raw you cannot do an accelerate and a fly drive maneuver as a single maneuver. 

 

Then, logically, you can never go from 0 to 1 without doing two maneuvers.

Because when you go from 0 (standing still) to 1 (accelerated from 0), you are actually travelling 1 distance.

I take the "accelerate" as a maneuver that means you're increasing in speed after you've already started moving.

 

EDIT: P232 of the CR cleraly states that fly/drive: "this maneuver reflects the simple act of moving the ship or vehicle closer or further away from something at its current speed."

It also states the Accelerate/Decelerate maneuver separately, which is "The pilot may increase or decrease the ship or vehicles current speed by one, to a minimum of zero or a maximum of the ship's maximum speed rating".

To me that means that the fly/drive maneuver is used when you're already moving and not accelerating. 

But to use a jetpack to accelerate to 1 takes just one maneuver.

Slowing down again at the target location, however, is another maneuver (namely, the decelerate maneuver).

Otherwise, you'll just keep flying past the location.

 

I agree it's a bit weird to say you don't Move when Accelerating from or Decelerating too Speed 0, I'm thinking it's just poorly worded and should act as a Move but I'm unsure. Another Ask the Devs question.

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I agree with FuriousGreg's interpretation, for a few reasons.

 

First, *my* interpretation of the maneuvers.  I would interpret the maneuver used accelerate from 0 to 1 as the time and effort it takes to get moving and oriented in the correct direction (Backing out of the driveway, putting the car in gear).  The separate maneuver is to use your new velocity to get where you need to go.

 

In other words, the first maneuver gets you speed from a dead stop, the second maneuver is the application of that speed to go where you want.

 

The second reason has to do with balance.  Obviously the jetpack is a powerful piece of gear.  Requiring multiple maneuvers to use it effectively helps take the edge of it.  That's kind of why we're here discussing the issue.  Besides, you can still use two maneuvers *and* take an action, it just costs you a few strain [And the Jet pack 2 system strain.  Missed a rule].  Which really isn't much of cost given how easily you can recover strain.

 

The final reason is my experience playing Kerbal Space Program.  It takes a non-trivial amount of effort to get a ship or astronaut/kerbonaut safely off the ground, clear of obstacles, into the air, and then a separate bit of effort/action set to use that velocity I just picked up do something useful.  In this case, the first maneuver gets the jet pack started, the PC clear of anything he could run into, oriented to where the sniper was, and then he can use a second maneuver to head towards the sniper.

 

Remember, vehicles *can* have speed without effectively going anywhere.  They can just circle.  So having a non-zero speed does not necessarily mean you're moving toward a location.  So logically, you can go from 0 to 1 without using two  maneuvers (you're just hovering/circling/loitering over where you came from).  You just can't *go* anywhere from a dead stop for less than two maneuvers.

Edited by LethalDose

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I don't think you see Boba Fett having to fire-up his Jet Pack then take a few seconds to accelerate and then move to the other speeder where Luke his standing.

 

On a semi-related note, I seem to remember reading a simpler rule for jet-packing within an encounter someone had house-ruled: they would allow a character use a jet pack to move from their current location to any other location in the encounter within long range, and I think that's pretty reasonable.  It's not directly applicable to the OP's issue (the target was at extreme range), but it would resolve the issue for Fett jetting across to the skiff (Not more than long range, but at least medium).

 

I would probably add a coordination skill check to stick the landing for characters using this houserule, but that's just my judegement.  Failing would wound the character (wound or strain damage from a rough landing), advantage/triumph could give the character a boost die on their next attack (catching an enemy off guard) or a free manuever, and threat/despair would leave the character staggered, or in the wrong location or something.  I've seen jetpacks and other similar personal mobility devices in other games use similar rules, and I like it.

 

I guess I see the jet pack having two functions: tactical mobility and long distance travel.  I think limiting tactical mobility to Long range is reasonable (consistent with the house-rule above), because you can't can't really pinpoint a landing if you have too much speed, and just landing is going to take a physical toll.  At extreme range and beyond, you really need to get some speed up to get where you're going in a reasonable amount of time, so I think it *should* be treated like vehicle in that situation.

 

PS Sorry for the edits, I just keep thinking of cool ways to make that house-rule work well.

Edited by LethalDose

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Can the jetpack move that far in one maneuver by the RAW and RAI?... If the speed is 1, iisn`t that like AT-Walkers and slow speeders? Or am I remembering this wrong?

I have only ever used the speed rules in a chase on-planet, with a wayfarer , speeder- and swoop bikes.

Treat the moving speeder like a flying creature and require a maneuver each turn (fly/drive terrain check when changing bands, but a simple maneuver when circling) then that covers the speed of the vehicle, allowing it to quickly zip from Long to Short and back again, or just hold at a specific distance. The speed to do this has to be at least 1, but some vehicles will want to go up higher for special maneuvers. Fine, no need to further effect this scale of movement though.

 

How would range bands work, are you suggesting that a speed 1 vehicle in this personal scale combat can move two range bands in one maneuver? Would going to speed 2 make that three range bands?

 

I'm still kicking this around, so please poke any holes you see but....

 

 

At personal scale Speed isn't really a thing except in specific situations. So I'm thinking any vehicle not moving at a crawl or hovering, regardless of it's current speed will move roughly the same way, namely the way a flying creature works.

Extreme-Long 2 Maneuvers

Long-Short 1 Maneuver

Engage 1 Maneuver.

Must Spend 1 maneuver every turn to keep at speed. Moving between bands does count toward this.

You can still Accelerate/Decelerate as normal to adjust terrain difficulties, or get to the speed needed for a specific maneuver (like evasive action or something).

Moving beyond Extreme range will generally remove you from the encounter, or convert it over to vehicular scale if appropriate (Like say the Players hop on a speeder and give chase or something)

Vehicles can slow to a crawl, or hover when appropriate, moving at the same rate as a dismounted character, and counting as having a speed of 0 when in relation to vehicle maneuvers ect, that involve speed.

 

So reviewing the application from Fighter/airspeeder to jetpack, assuming the player will typically be dismounted and engaging NPC vehicles (it should still work if the PC in in the vehicle and it's not a vehicle scale encounter):

Fighter/Airspeeder: Typically will be able to sit at extreme range and lob attacks. Kinda like circling overhead. May opt to move closer depending on the situation (car style airspeeder with a repeating blaster sticking out the window) if you're on the ground and not able to fly reducing this range is going to be pretty hard, but the GM could allow when appropriate.

 

Landspeeder/Speederbike: Same as above except that a player on foot can make an effort to close distance if they wish (terrain allowing of course). A little odd offhand, but films are full of people running after vehicles so it works, and the vehicle will always be able to outrun the person if it wishes. This is actually kinda nice as a Speed 1 speeder truck or bantha is still able to smoke a guy on foot.

 

Creature: Same as landspeeder unless otherwise noted (this is the area I have the least experience, so I suspect a breaking point will be here, offhand this seems like it might work as flying critters already work this way, but it's the land based part I'm not completely certain of as it seems to be the most off book...)

 

Jetpack: Can kick on hover mode as an incidental, allowing normal movement in the vertical and ignoring difficult terrain. Using the Accelerate maneuver switches you to flying rules, and you're now moving like an airspeeder or flying creature. Decelerating to speed 0 will put you back in hover mode unless you've landed of course.

 

 

Does that make sense? I'm thinking the jetpack and occasionally animal mounts will be the only real odd examples. The other bug I see is walking from Extreme to Long and driving from Extreme to Long will take the same maneuver count... which is a little weird, though I'm not sure the final effect will be a bad one. Also this covers vehicles that are slow by vehicle standards, but still very fast by people on foot standards which was something that bothered me...

 

Anything else I'm missing? I can be pretty hard on other people with weird rules interpretations and house rules so I expect the same in return.

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how about just rewriting the jetpack so it doesn't function as a vehicle?

 

Instead, have it work like Force Leap (from Enhance) allowing the character to move to any location--horizontal or vertical--within Medium range (personal) with a maneuver. Simple enough.

 

If it were the old days I'd agree completely (Boba in Jedi just kinda jet-jumped around, when he wasn't catching his feet on hand-rails). But with the newer material showing jetpacks working more like the Rocketeer there needs to be a method for it to operate as a vehicle too...

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Then, logically, you can never go from 0 to 1 without doing two maneuvers.

 

Correct. By the current wording of the rules this is 100% black and white - to go from standing still to within short range of something takes 2 maneuvers. First 1 to accelerate (i.e.: start moving) and then 1 to actually close the distance. This shouldn't be debated at all - there is nothing in the rules which indicates that the accelerate maneuver actually moves you, it simply increases the speed at which a move maneuver will move you.

 

The way I'd rule it, the player can either (assuming appropriate gaining of strain or other way to get 2 maneuvers per round):

  1. Round 1: Accelerate (from speed 0 to speed 1), move, drop grenade; round 2: move (away), decelerate (from 1 to 0 - unless they wish to continue flying).
  2. Round 1: Accelerate (from speed 0 to speed 1); round 2: move, drop grenade, move (away); round 3: decelerate (from 1 to 0 - unless they wish to continue flying).

Either way, it simply isn't possible to go from a standing start to flying over, attacking and flying away all in one round. RAW this is a potent, but not broken trick (and it requires both a jetpack and a thermal detonator, so it should be!)

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Then, logically, you can never go from 0 to 1 without doing two maneuvers.

 

Correct. By the current wording of the rules this is 100% black and white - to go from standing still to within short range of something takes 2 maneuvers. First 1 to accelerate (i.e.: start moving) and then 1 to actually close the distance. This shouldn't be debated at all - there is nothing in the rules which indicates that the accelerate maneuver actually moves you, it simply increases the speed at which a move maneuver will move you.

 

The way I'd rule it, the player can either (assuming appropriate gaining of strain or other way to get 2 maneuvers per round):

  1. Round 1: Accelerate (from speed 0 to speed 1), move, drop grenade; round 2: move (away), decelerate (from 1 to 0 - unless they wish to continue flying).
  2. Round 1: Accelerate (from speed 0 to speed 1); round 2: move, drop grenade, move (away); round 3: decelerate (from 1 to 0 - unless they wish to continue flying).

Either way, it simply isn't possible to go from a standing start to flying over, attacking and flying away all in one round. RAW this is a potent, but not broken trick (and it requires both a jetpack and a thermal detonator, so it should be!)

 

And doing it this way mitigates some of the silliness. 

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Thanks guys! All of this has been very helpful. My player and I have talked about it, and I think what we are going to do is turn the jetpack into a personal scale item rather than letting it transform the user into a vehicle. The complications came from us having to cycle back and forth from personal to vehicle scale, so removing that altogether relieves a lot of our headache.

Essentially, the jetpack will allow him to make a Piloting (planetary) check to move up to long range either vertically or horizontally. The difficulty of the check will be based off the range he's travelling: Easy at short, Average at Medium, Hard at Long. This way it's still powerful and useful, but it's manageable and simple. It's easy to remember the difficulties as well because they are the same for ranged attacks.

Thank you all for the responses and input. This kind of feedback and assistance is why I love these forums.

As an aside, it's interesting how a lot of folks seemed to have assumed that I didn't give the bounty hunter ranks in Adversary or apply setback dice to my PC's Piloting check and then chastised me because of it. I did those things, I just didn't feel they were relevant to a topic about jetpacks so I didn't mention them.

Edited by Icosiel

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Seems like a workable solution. Personally, as per the rules I'd allow the character to either:

  1. Operate the Jetpack using planetary scale representing a "fast burn" to quickly close distance, in which case see my previous post (close range at planetary scale encompasses all personal scale range bands, but note that it still takes a maneuver for a vehicle to move within the close range band). The act of spending the maneuver to accelerate/decelerate is essentially the switch to move between planetary and personal scale movement; or
  2. Operate the Jetpack using personal scale representing a "controlled burn" more for maneuverability, in which case I wouldn't actually allow them to move any faster (i.e.: they would follow the standard rules for movement at personal scale), but they can move vertically as well as horizontally (substituting Pilot checks for relevant Athletics checks to climb/jump).

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Use terrain to your advantage. Tell the players how far their characters can travel in a round, based on terrain and surroundings. This is theatre of the mind after all. And does movement really disrupt game balance? How often do they really encounter snipers they (for some reason) can see so far away? There are lots of challanges you can throw at them were a jetpack has no bearing or impact on the situation at all! And when the players think of creative ways to use it, reward them for it, it`s a good thing! Flying and taking out the sniper sounds fun! What was your initial plan? For the sniper to shoot at them and they wouldn`t be able to do anything, just hide or be shot?

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Here's my two cents on the Jetpack. My goal is to make it "realistic" without being overly complicated.

First, we need to address one of the biggest limitations a Jetpack has, which I don't think anybody has brought up yet: fuel. A Jetpack has 10 units of fuel. Each unit of fuel costs 40 credits (feel free to adjust this).

A jetpack has three uses:

Jump mode: As a maneuver, you move anywhere from long to short range (or short to long). As a maneuver you may move from extreme range to long range (or long to extreme). As an ACTION you may move from medium range to engaged (this requires a pilot planetary check)

-Each of these uses consumes one unit of fuel.

 

Hover mode: As a maneuver, you hover over your present location, gaining whatever narrative benefits the gm deems appropriate (for instance, you may be considered impossible to engage). -This consumes 2 units of fuel per round.

 

Fly mode: As an Action you you activate the Jetpack, accelerate to speed one, and move one range band on the planetary scale. Each maneuver may accelerate/deaccelerate you by one point to a maximum of two and move you as is appropriate for a vehicle of your speed. Deaccelerating to 0 allows you to land.
-This consumes 3 units of fuel per round. If you run completely out of fuel while flying you fall, taking falling damage as appropriate for your altitude. If you do not have enough fuel to complete a full round of flying, you may land anywhere within close range (planetary scale) of your present location as an action (requiring a piloting planetary check), after which your fuel tanks are depleted.

The way I see it jetpacks are mostly for jumping, but can be used for flying in a pinch.

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You know I have been thinking about this. I see several places where the GM made mistakes. 

1. you cannot go from zero to your target in one manuever. It takes 2 maneuvers to get there. So if they drop the thermal detonator they are in the blast area.

2. The sniper should not be visible at extreme range. So the player should be moving up and then having to roll perception to find the sniper under the camo roll.

3. there should be interesting terrain to avoid thus necessitating a pilot check. 

With these in place. 
Round one- accelerate. fly drive maneuver with pilot check to avoid terrain. trees catwalks power lines etc. 
Round two- perception roll to find sniper. maneuver to move into range. 
Round Three- throw thermal detonator and maneuver out of range. 

That gives the sniper 3 shots. 

Edited by Daeglan

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